kouta (Container)

About this object

History of use

Sometimes used by Bengali women to store precious things (coins, chains, jewellery, cosmetics). Red powder on outside seems to indicate that this held red, powered dye. It is the custom of married women to wear this red powder down the parting in their hair. It symbolized their married status. It is called 'sindur'. This object could also have been used to store red powder to make the forehead mark 'bindi'.

Cultural context

used by women

Physical description

Brass casting of small casket mounted on small stand cast as part of main body of object. Lid, with knob, was cast separately. Hinge joints were cast as part of both pieces, 2 loops at each side of base and 1 on each side of lid. Small brass rod is pushed into one of the sides to form simple working hinge, while other side may be secured as a latch. Base is embossed along entire circumference with vertical bands of circles.